Indian court jails Uber driver for life for rape

November 3, 2015 2:01 pm
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Indian police escort Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav following a court appearance in New Delhi on December 8, 2014/AFP
Indian police escort Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav following a court appearance in New Delhi on December 8, 2014/AFP
NEW DELHI, India, Nov 3 – An Indian court on Tuesday sentenced an Uber driver to life in prison for raping a young woman passenger in New Delhi, a case that inflamed fears over sexual violence in the capital.

The Delhi court last month convicted Shiv Kumar Yadav of abducting and raping the 25-year-old passenger as she returned home from dinner with friends in December.

Yadav, dressed in a white checked shirt, wiped tears from his cheeks as the judge read out the sentencing, the maximum possible jail term for rape.

“He will serve rigorous imprisonment, which shall mean imprisonment til natural death,” Judge Kaveri Baweja told the court in New Delhi.

Yadav, 32, was convicted last month of four charges – rape, abduction, intimidation and causing harm – and the prosecution had been expected to argue for the maximum punishment of life in jail.

Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava said in the courtroom the sentencing should send “a message” to society “where a person cannot even think of committing such an offence”.

“She is not the only victim, rather the whole society is the victim,” he said, alleging Yadav had a “criminal history” dating back to 2001.

California-based Uber was accused of failing to conduct adequate background checks after it emerged that Yadav had been accused of assaulting other women, although he had no previous convictions.

“This man has changed,” defence lawyer Dharmender Kumar Mishra said of his client, adding he was the sole breadwinner for his poor family.

“On the day of his conviction, he cried… he had gone to the extent of wanting to commit suicide,” Mishra said, adding that his client would appeal the sentence at a higher court.

Yadav’s wife broke down in the courtroom, howling inconsolably, as the pair’s crying daughters tried to console her.

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